Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More dialogues for local government officials

Three years ago, I wrote a set of model conversations intended to help local government officials introduce their cities and counties (nine areas in all) to visiting foreigners. This summer, I joined a follow-up project to add two more counties, Chiayi (not to be confused with Chiayi City, which was covered in the first project) and Yunlin. Here's an extract from one of the Yunlin-related dialogues:

Narrator: With more than 600 species, including migrants, Taiwan has emerged as a top destination for international birdwatchers. 

Taiwanese official (TO): Do you like birdwatching or other kinds of ecotourism?

Foreign visitor (FV): I do. After going to lots of meetings, I find it very relaxing to get up close and personal with nature.

TO: I'm glad to tell you you've come to the right place. Yunlin County has mountains, forests, as well as plains and rivers. Along the coast there are several spots that attract waterbirds. One is Chenglong Wetland in Kouhu Township. The government has designated it as a “wetland of national importance.” It has featured in some birdathon events.

TO: What's a birdathon? A bird... marathon?

FV: Kind of. It's a competition for birdwatchers. People try to spot as many different species in a single day. Sometimes they start in the hills and then move down through the lowlands to the coast.

FV: Sounds like fun! Do you know what species I might see at that wetland?

TO: Let me have a look on my smartphone… hold on a minute… here's a list: Little Tern, Saunders' Gull, Common Kestrel, Painted Snipe… and several others, including the Black-faced Spoonbill.

FV: Very promising indeed! 

TO: If you want more information, I suggest you contact the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area, or have a look at their website. The scenic area covers part of Yunlin County. 

FV: Is there any good birdwatching inland?

TO: Lots! In the foothills around Huben and Hushan villages you may be able to see the Taiwan Blue Magpie and Swinhoe’s Pheasant. Both are unique to Taiwan. In the summer, the same area draws a lot of Fairy Pittas and Oriental Cuckoos.

FV: I know what a cuckoo is, but I don’t know anything about the pitta species you just mentioned. 

TO: It’s an incredibly beautiful bird, and attracts many photographers. It breeds in Taiwan but doesn’t stay year-round. In Chinese, we call it baseniao, which means "eight-color bird." 

FV: It really has eight colors?

TO: Some say seven, some say eight... 

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